The Jane McDonald Story (Friday 13th April, 9pm, Channel 5)
The Jane McDonald Story traces the remarkable career trajectory of perhaps the first and most successful ‘Reality TV star’ of all time.
Born in Wakefield in 1963 Jane came up through the traditional route of Northern working men’s clubs as a gifted and charismatic singer before taking to the high seas on board various cruise ships including The Century, where her time was not especially happy due to pay delays, technical difficulties, and stressful working conditions. The only good thing to come from this troubled period was that she met her future husband Henrik Brixen, who was the ship’s plumber.
In 1998 and at the relatively mature age of 35 – she was considering packing it all in – Jane received a call out of the blue from the BBC asking her if she would ‘star’ in their new docu-soap, The Cruise. With nothing to lose she agreed.
With viewing figures almost immediately hitting 14 million viewers, including one famous episode in which she married Henrik on a Caribbean island (although later they divorced) Britain immediately warmed to this genuinely lovely, humble & talented lady.
Jane was almost literally an overnight success thanks to the sheer force of her warm personality and the strength and power of her voice. She went on to enjoy a commercially successful recording and touring career and continued TV prominence, most notably as a regular host on Loose Women and returning to the water with her own continuing Channel 5 series Cruising with Jane McDonald.
We talk to her friends, family, colleagues and journalists who walk us through her genuinely fascinating life, illustrated with archive from every period of her career.
Watch ‘The Jane McDonald Story’ this Friday, 13th April, 9pm, Channel 5